Dec. 20, 2007
Head coach Ben Braun
I thought offensively we were clicking pretty well in the first half. I really thought our team did a good job of executing. I thought we were sharp, I thought we were crisp. I was a little concerned about that coming in, but those concerns were answered. The first half we had 45 points, shooting about a 70-percent clip from the floor. I don't think you can ask for better offense than that. I was a little disappointed defensively - we weren't in sync. They have a good-shooting team, and you could sense our guys getting a little discouraged trying to play through a long clock, and that's what Delaware State does: they'll play you through about 15, 20 seconds and then break you down off their flex cuts, break you down on some penetrations, and our guys kind of got lulled a little bit.
On the defensive difference in the second half, in which Cal limited Delaware State to 10 rebounds and 40 percent shooting:
I thought we did a much better job. They cut the lead early but I thought our guys did a pretty good job of staying in it. Our positioning defensively was a lot better. Jordan Wilkes came in and did a good job defensively, challenged shots. DeVon (Hardin) got rebounds in the second half. We switched DeVon off (Roy) Bright so he could get in there (to rebound), and we even went to the zone a little bit tonight, just so we could stay position-wise, and I thought that we did a decent job.
On why the defense, rather than the offense, took a while to get warmed up tonight after an 11-day layoff:
I'm pleased that offensively we were able to do some things and I think we can turn it up defensively. I think that's just a matter of effort and, really, grit and getting it done. We've been a traditionally good defensive team. Sometimes now, with the talent we have on offense, we tend to forget where we have to butter our bread. If we're going to play championship basketball, (if) we're going to play at a high level, we're going to step up and play both ends. And our players are going to understand that when we play good defense and we get fastbreak opportunities, there's a correlation. I've always said that.
On whether Jamal Boykin's debut this Saturday could bring some of that defensive desire to the floor for Cal: :
Jamal's an energy guy, and what you see on the bench is only half of what he does. He's a basketball player. Cheerleading is his second occupation. He's really a guy that will bring a tremendous enthusiasm and energy on the floor. You've got to be careful, obviously, in your first game in a Cal uniform after a long layoff, to try to do too much, but that'll be on me and we'll try to keep close reins on that. But I don't want to see Jamal ever - or any of our players, for that matter - not harness their enthusiasm, their effort. Jamal will play hard. He'll get the guys around him to play hard. So we're looking forward to it. It's a great game for him to come back, because we obviously have a very formidable opponent (in Utah).